For much of his life, Frederick Bartlett was an avid art collector and artist, purchasing and creating unique pieces for his tropical South Florida estate. He even passed his passion for art along to his third wife, Evelyn, who became a prolific painter and talented art collector herself. Today, most of t his artwork is still on display at the Bonnet House estate for guests to enjoy as they visit the museum. But it isn’t just paintings and two-dimensional artwork that are on display throughout the estate – Bonnet House also displays quite a bit of shell art from the Bartlett’s original collection.
If you’ve toured Bonnet House in the past, you likely noticed that the Bartlett family had an affinity for shells and shell-themed artwork. In fact, eleven of Evelyn’s original paintings, and eight of Frederick’s paintings contain shells. Evelyn also purchased f our small shell assemblages that are in the shape of a bride’s basket in Nassau, which are still on display in our Music Room. As these intricate shell assemblages are very difficult to dust, we have them displayed under glass domes.
Another clear example of the Bartletts’ love for shells can be seen in the intricate shell designs in the Haitian Loggia. When the building was created, the designs were even more impressive, but a shadow of these details can still be seen today. Also featured at Bonnet House are the two shell flower arrangements in the white marble urns at the base of the pier mirrors.
Today, Bonnet House pays homage to the original owners of Bonnet House by continuing to display their shell art pieces throughout the estate. You can learn more about these pieces and other artistic elements shown throughout the museum on our guided tours available Tuesday through Friday from 9:30 am-4:00 pm, and Saturdays from 9:30 am-11:00 am. This is the perfect opportunity to see how many different pieces of shell art you can find throughout the property.
We hope that you and your family join us for a guided tour of Bonnet House Museum & Gardens. You’ll get to enjoy the natural beauty of our gardens, and learn about the artwork and design elements that make the property so unique. Click here to plan your next visit to Bonnet House Museum & Gardens.